THE STRIKE (CONT.)
SI deserves the highest praise for putting its prestige behind the unpopular truth, to wit: It is baseball's owners who have caused the current strike (No Games Today, June 22). Fans who are jealous of players' salaries refuse to admit that in no area of American life except sports is there compensation when a man changes employers. It is ironic that the lack of pressure on the owners from the fans, urging the owners to be reasonable, is perhaps one of the reasons that the owners are in no hurry to see the strike end.
New York City
Lou Gehrig appeared in 2,130 consecutive games, many of them while hurt, sick, even dying. He was typical of the men who played when baseball was America's game. I knew the names and statistics of every member of most National League teams, down to the bat boys. Today the game is a shame, and the overpriced, egotistical, self-indulgent players with their batteries of agents, lawyers and accountants have dulled my interest to the point where I'd rather watch reruns of Father Knows Best. Sympathize with the players? Bah! My dictionary defines a player as "one who takes part or is skilled in some game." Baseball is no longer a game. It's a disgrace. I'm rooting for the owners in this travesty!
WILLIAM T. OCEL
As a longtime Washington, D.C. area resident, I can sympathize with the baseball fans in other parts of the country who are now suffering through an empty summer. I can also understand their bitterness toward players and management. Many of us in this area felt the same way 10 years ago when our beloved Senators were taken away despite our unwavering loyalty. Nobody cared about the fans then, and nobody cares now.
Here's my compensation plan. A team signing a ranking free agent may protect 20 players. The team being compensated may choose three of the signing club's remaining 20 roster players. Then George can decide whom he wants to give away. This will help the weaker teams and maintain competitive balance. Isn't that what the owners want? Sorry, George.
I'm livid! Seething! If I had wanted to subscribe to a business magazine, I would have. Your photographs of Ray Grebey, Marvin Miller and Judge Henry Werker clad in coat and tie have absolutely nothing to do with the fine art of competitive sports. The publication of these photographs and the article accompanying them put baseball in a demeaning role. I hope this will be the last issue wherein negotiators and mediators turn a clean, healthy sport into an obscenity.
Clean up your act, SI, and stick to real sports reporting. Surely you have some photographs of Christie Brinkley that were shot for your Feb. 9 issue but went unused with which you could fill your pages now.
JOEL A. KRAMER
I was elated to find the superb article on Bjorn Borg and his Wimbledon whiskers (The Beard Has Begun, June 22). Curry Kirkpatrick expertly reveals a warm and wonderful side of this spectacular champion. Kirkpatrick has again surpassed his own high standards and brought unusual realism and clear-cut truth to sports journalism.
He may be the greatest player the game has ever had, but two weeks in a row of Bjorn Borg (June 15 and June 22) is unnecessary. It's a shame to waste the talents of a writer like Curry Kirkpatrick on three articles about the same man—I may be a bit premature in saying three, but I think Borg will win again at Wimbledon. Please try for a little more diversity from now on.
PETER J. CLAYTON
Rockville Centre, N.Y.
In his article about the NBA draft (A Repute in Dispute, June 8), Bruce Newman discussed the University of Maryland's Buck Williams and made the following statement, which disturbed me a great deal: "His offensive game seemed limited in college, but that's attributable to Coach Lefty Driesell's helter-skelter offense; so many times last season Williams had great position inside and the Maryland players couldn't or wouldn't get him the ball."
If our offense is so helter-skelter, why is it that in 1980-81 we were first in the ACC in field-goal percentage and eighth in the NCAA's Division I with 53.2%? In 1979-80, Buck's sophomore season, we shot 55%, second in the nation and first in the ACC, and in his freshman year we shot 50.3%. As a matter of fact, my last nine teams at Maryland have shot better than 50%. In 1974-75 we broke the NCAA field-goal-percentage record with 54.7%. In addition, when I was coaching at Davidson during the 1963-64 season, we set an NCAA field-goal-percentage mark of 54.3% that stood for six years. Thus, my teams have twice set an NCAA field-goal-percentage record.
Incidentally, Buck shot 64.7% from the field last season, placing him first in the ACC in this category. So our offense did produce some outstanding high-percentage shots for Buck. For the record, Buck scored 10.0 points per game as a freshman, 15.5 as a sophomore and 15.6 as a junior, making him the eighth-leading scorer in the ACC in 1980-81. Buck made tremendous strides offensively. Our offense certainly complemented him and vice versa.
I resent Newman's statement that our offense is helter-skelter. He should check his facts before making foolish remarks.
CHARLES G. (LEFTY) DRIESELL
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.
•As the article stated, the evaluation of Williams and other players was provided by Dallas Maverick scout Richie O'Connor. O'Connor is also a free-lance writer who played basketball in 1969-72 at Duke University, co-incidentally, Driesell's alma mater. O'Connor's evaluation of Williams did not concern the accuracy of his shots but the frequency of them.—ED.
In response to the item in SCORECARD (June 1) on Idaho's plan to encourage its citizens to donate as much as $5 to the U.S. Olympic Committee by way of a checkoff box on their state income-tax returns, you may very well be right about such an income-tax checkoff program setting a "dubious precedent." Obviously, there are scores of worthwhile causes that could conceivably benefit from the checkoff system. In fact, some already do. Here in Colorado, the state Division of Wildlife's checkoff program, which was initiated in 1978 and which allows taxpayers to contribute a portion of their refund toward the well-being of the state's nongame and endangered species, is currently the most lucrative checkoff program in the nation, and requests are made to the state legislature annually for additional checkoff boxes and/or for a single checkoff box that would provide funds for various causes.
However, I see one difference between social and cultural checkoff programs and wildlife checkoff programs. While causes such as the U.S. Olympic team, the National Endowment for the Arts and public television may be underfunded because of the present financial climate, it is possible that they will do better in the future. On the other hand, threatened and endangered species and their habitats once lost are irrecoverable. We at the Colorado Division of Wildlife plan to stick with our checkoff program, we hope forever.
JOHN R. TORRES
Chief, Nongame and Endangered Species
Colorado Division of Wildlife
I enjoyed reading about the Bushwicks (YESTERDAY, June 15) because I played for them in the early '30s and umpired at Dexter Park the last nine years they were in existence, the exciting years from wartime to the end, in 1951. To add to Michael Crosby's article and straighten out, if I may, certain details, let me offer a few facts.
On Oct. 18, 1931, a week after the game of that year that Crosby mentions, Dazzy Vance brought his All-Stars to play the Bay Parkway team, which was operated by Max Rosner's brother, Joe. I played in the game with Andy Fisher, a local favorite, and Overton Tremper, a Dodger outfielder, and am proud to say that we defeated Dazzy 1-0. So he lost two games in a row to the semipros.
The night after the Griffith Stadium game that Crosby mentions, the Homestead Grays played and lost to the regular Bushwick club, whereupon Vic Harris, the Homestead manager, boasted to me that the night before in Washington the Grays had defeated a big league ball club. Jack (Snapper) O'Neill, a very good friend of mine, had already told me that Hank Sauer (Reds, Cubs), Gar Del Savio (Phillies), Lou Klein (Cardinals) and Sid Gordon (Giants) had played for the Bushwicks at Griffith. The players had gotten the night off from the Curtis Bay Coast Guard. The year was 1944, not 1941. The boys weren't in service until after Pearl Harbor.
Phil Rizzuto played shortstop alongside Eddie Stanky in the 14-inning game that Ralph Branca pitched. Young Ed (Whitey) Ford was called out for missing third base with what would have been the winning run in the ninth inning. Stanky called for the appeal.
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